The Bus Stop

Day 2 : Barrio Basieda to San Vicente de la Barquera to somewhere after Serdio… and back again

Like all good pilgrims we set our alarm for an early start. We had breakfast at 7:00am and made ready for the day. There is a certain comfort in this camino routine… taping our toes, checking our packs, sorting water. There were though a few extras today… making a picnic, filling a flask, checking for masks, wipes, drinking straws and hand gel.

We set off before 8:00 but when planning our to and fro camino we hadn’t really considered how difficult the drive would be back to the coast. It’s beautiful but the speed limit is 40km and you’d be lucky to reach that most of the time… lots of bends and turns and curves. It took us an hour and a half to reach San Vicente… so we need to maybe consider this when planning our daily walks.

However, we arrived! Oh I love the Northern Coast of Spain. I could honestly quite happily just keep walking the Norte… we quickly decided that we’ll walk it again in June 2022. We were so ill when we attempted it in 2018… it needs to be done! But we arrived and donned our face-masks and set off across the bridge into San Vicente; and almost immediately we were presented with yellow arrows and camino markers. I took photos of every one… much to Gerry’s amusement. I squealed with delight. We were back. We really were walking the camino. And we had our first Buen Camino!

We decided to forego our visit to the castle as we were starting much later than planned. We have a few spare days so we’ll come back when we have more time. Today the weather forecast was showers between 7:00am and midday and rain after this. But whilst the sky was a little grey and there was no sun to be seen, the paths were dry.

Up and up we walked. Leaving the town quickly behind us and walking into open countryside. We wanted to look back but we agreed that we should save those views for our return to the car… so on we walked looking ahead at the mountains.

As we walked a farmer called us over. He asked if we were going to Santiago? He said a lot more but I didn’t understand. He pointed to the distant hills and told us that was Serdio… we knew that was on the map for today so we smiled and thanked him. He wished us Buen Camino and I felt a certain comfort in his kindness… he wasn’t fearful of pilgrims. He opened his gate and invited onto his land… we were welcomed.

Onwards we walked. Up and down, more buenos from passing cyclists. Over the motorway bridge and on into small villages and rural splendour. It was time for music. I found Home by The Foo Fighters but Gerry decided it was very nice but a little dull. He found Witchita Lineman by Glen Campbell… it was oddly soothing and suited our mood and our pace.

Up and up we walked away from the coast. I so wanted to turn and look back but its a treat for later. Instead we found a bench and decided it was time for a quick stop. Because we’re trying to be self sufficient we decided we’d bring flasks of hot tea… it seemed awfully extravagant to sit there under the tree, watching the cows, sipping hot tea and eating a few peanuts and sharing a banana. Oh I love walking the camino!

Onwards we go and finally the road levelled and we started to go down. Normally this would bring certain comfort but we know we’re going to have to walk back up which took some of the downhill joy away. However, it doesn’t matter because this route is so pretty. Did I mentioned that the northern coast is wonderful! You should visit! My thoughts wander back to last year, walking from Ribadesella to Oviedo and then on to Primitivo. The countryside feels very familiar and my heart yearns for those days; life was so easy and now COVID-19 is never far from our thoughts.

We walk through a few little villages and finally reach Serdio. This is almost at the point where the path splits… onwards to continue on the Norte or inland if you which to walk the Lebaniego. We stopped for a drink. Gerry had his first Cafe Con Leche but I opted for a cola. Everyone of course is wearing masks and there was a sign on the table to say it had been disinfected. I’ve brought some straws from home so that I can drink without having to put the glass to my lips… I ask myself if I’m being over zealous but I’d rather be safe.

We people watch. A toddler is playing in the square, watched by two older ladies. A cyclists stops for a quick beer and a chat. We watch other pilgrims walk on. There is a lot of life going on… all behind masks. It’s odd not to see smiles but it’s also amazing how you can see smiles in everyone’s eyes. We feel welcome.

We pack up. We dispose of all things disposable, leave our glasses on the bar. Pay sin contact on our card… hand gel, wipes, masks. We walk on. We wanted to reach the split in the road and on to the path beside the river but Gerry decided it was time to turn around. We’d been lucky so far and no rain had fallen but it should be raining so we decided to head back.

It was easy to retrace our steps and I was so pleased that we kept the views for the return walk. It looked very different. More pilgrims passed us. We would cross the road to avoid close contact, and put our masks on as soon as we saw others approaching but most of the time it was just us and the road and no need for a mask.

We realised that we were hungry… we’d forgotten to eat! We looked around and spotted a bus stop. Perfect says Gerry… I remembered last year with our benchgate incident and agreed that a bus stop with a seat is a good thing. We muched on our picnic and had another cup of tea. Gerry declared this the perfect place for a picnic… you can’t go wrong with a bus stop he decided. He pondered for a moment and declared…

be it cold or hot
you can’t go wrong with a bus stop

Gotta love his wise words!

We reached the hill… it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as we thought going back and as we climbed to the top we were rewarded with more amazing views. And still the weather held.

Down and down to the water. The tide was in and the boats that this morning lay like toys on the sand were now boobing around on the sea. Oh what a lovely walk, just shy of 18kms. I know this isn’t a conventional camino but these are not conventional days. We’re not sure which section we’ll walk tomorrow… but one thing we are sure of… we will be following arrows!

Buen Camino folks… stay safe and well!

12 thoughts on “The Bus Stop

  1. Pingback: Magpies and Meadows | Then We Walked

  2. Pingback: Camino Lebaniego | Then We Walked

  3. Colleen,
    So pleased to experience your happiness to be back on the camino with Gerry.
    Btw are you both Irish? (The names made me ask ).
    The photos are excellent .. truly give the vibe you’re feeling. I’d forgotten how gorgeous and varied that region is. It was 2014 for my Norte – Time flies when you have opportunities to walk different paths each year. You are fortunate being so near many paths in France and Spain.
    Thank-you once again though., for being one of the front-runners .. someone has to be the starters. I don’t know when I’ll be back again so enjoying ‘walking with you’.

    ♥️♥️♥️
    Buen camino
    Annie

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    • Hi Annie – I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. It is so nice to be walking again. We really do think long and hard about making the decision to come… was it safe? was it the right thing to do? should we stay at home? We have been very vigilant about being safe at home but we felt that the compromise of an apartment and being in our car was a good choice. It’s not as easy as just walking every day but we feel so happy to be here. And we’ve received warm welcomes from everyone so far… lots of old farmers happy to chat to us… I wish i spoke more Spanish! (p.s. we’re not Irish 😀 but we’re often mistaken for this… red hair and irish names 😀 ) xxx

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  4. Oh Colleen, the joy in your words brought a tear to me. Thankyou for sharing your day.
    You’ve definitely got me thinking Norte for Sept/oct.
    xxG

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly this coast is just so pretty… and the mountains that run along inland are spectacular. It was the Norte along from San Sebastian that led me to the Camino Frances… it’s not always the easiest walk but for you it will be 🙂 xx

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    • Thank you so much! I love writing it… on longer walks it really becomes part of the rhythm of my walk. I love the way it makes me think… and how I lose myself in those thoughts. And I so love reading it when I’m home. I’m happy that other people enjoy it too ❤

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